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Golden Canyon Trail to Red Cathedral

MODERATE 131 reviews

Golden Canyon Trail to Red Cathedral is a 2.9 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Death Valley, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking and nature trips and is best used from October until March.

Distance: 2.9 miles Elevation Gain: 574 feet Route Type: Out & Back

kid friendly

hiking

nature trips

cave

views

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

scramble

no shade

no dogs

The Golden Canyon Trail is a short hike up Golden Canyon to the base of the Red Cathedral formations. This is a popular day-hike that starts at a marked trailhead with parking on Badwater Rd., just south of Furnace Creek. The first mile of the the trail is a mild hike up a canyon surrounded on all sides by golden rock formations and slot canyons. After mile one reaches a junction for the Gower Gulch trail. Continue past this point into a narrow slot canyon. The trail becomes more difficult here, requiring one to scramble over rocks until reaching the top of the slot canyon and the base of Red Cathedral. The view at the top here is spectacular! After enjoying the top, head back down and out of the slot canyon. Then either hike back down Golden Canyon to the trailhead, or extend the hike and take the junction for Gower Gultch. As anywhere in DVNP, the heat can be extreme, even outside of summer. Carry extra water!

hiking
no shade
rocky
scramble
1 month ago

hiking
off trail
rocky
scramble
1 month ago

I did not follow this trail exactly because there are so many off-trail paths that will take you towards the red cathedral if you just head east. You can literally explore this place for hours and never cross the same path twice which is amazing. The main trail was overcrowded with lots of families/groups. The climb up to the red cathedral plateau is more difficult (lots of slippery gravel and rock climbing), but so worth it!! We got up there by sunset and we’re the only ones by then, and the view was beautiful.

Nice trail that ends with a good view of the Red Cathedral. This trail does get a little busy. If you are looking for a quieter trail I would recommend Desolation Canyon which is about a mile further up the road. Desolation Canyon does not offer a view of Red Cathedral.

hiking
2 months ago

Beautiful trail, at least the golden canyon portion. Definitely do not recommend starting trail at 1pm....

walking
3 months ago

Our intent was to hike the loop from Zabriskie to here but due to extremely high winds at our campground the night before which destroyed our tent, we had to cut our trip short and jam pack everything into one more day. So we just walked into the canyon a little ways. Very beautiful. Tips: 1. Get there early to get parking - this is a popular stop. 2. Bring plenty of water and sunscreen if you plan on doing any extensive hiking in the canyon - it's very sunny and hot.

hiking
3 months ago

Maybe it's popular because it's the only "easy" hike in death valley. I found it underwhelming. The final view is also sort of the same you would get at the zabriskie point.

hiking
4 months ago

Beautiful hike, and nearly no people if you are there early (I started about 6:30). I went over my spring break and thought it would be crazy busy, but the only crowded place was further down the trail near Zabriskie Point. Hiking to Red Cathedral would probably not be a problem for kids, since this part of the loop is less than 3 miles.

hiking
4 months ago

We did this right at sunset. So we chose to only do part of the golden canyon and then sat high enough to watch the sun set over the canyon. Very pretty and not crowded at all from this side of the canyon. It was a great way to end the day in Death Valley!

hiking
rocky
4 months ago

hiking
4 months ago

Make sure to look for the sign so that you don’t go off on the wrong trail.

hiking
5 months ago

Better than creek walking - Climbing Up the wadis is so much fun. You could spend hours climbing around the sides of the canyon walls.

hiking
6 months ago

Easy hike. Great views inside Canyon. Went off on a couple different branches of the canyon as the trail wasn’t clearly marked as you got deeper in. Recommend using the map in the app to help.

hiking
6 months ago

Hiked in April 2018. Short, easy hike into a canyon that was true to its name.

7 months ago

I did the hike to Red Cathedral and back, but I’d love to go back and explore more of this majestic landscape. I highly recommend this unique and otherworldly hike.

7 months ago

review from 11-12. perfect weather! very few people along the trail. took a few wrong turns along the way and had a great time exploring in seclusion

hiking
8 months ago

The golden Canyon Trail is a short hike up Golden Canyon to the base of the Red Cathedral formations. this is a popular day-hike that starts at a marked trailhead with parking on Badwater Rd. just south of Furnace Creek. The first mile of the the trail is a mild hike up a canyon surrounded on all sides by golden rock formations and slot canyons. After mile one reaches a junction for the Gower Gulch trail. Continue past this point into a narrow slot canyon. The trail becomes more difficult here, requiring one to scramble over rocks until reaching the top of the slot canyon and the base of Red Cathedral. The view at the top here is spectacular! After enjoying the top, head back down and out of the slot canyon. Then either hike back down Golden Canyon to the trailhead, or extend the hike and take the junction for Gower Gultch. (As anywhere in DVNP, the heat can be extreme, even outside of summer. Carry extra water!)

hiking
11 months ago

My first hike in Death Valley and it was memorable! Great moderate hike with plenty of great views. Make sure to get to the trailhead early for parking and to beat the heat. There are some narrow sections during the hike that might make some nervous if they are REALLY afraid of heights. And of course bring plenty of water.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Slot canyons make for fun bouldering

hiking
Monday, April 16, 2018

Scenic hike with colorful rock formations. The first part is a relatively easy hike along the canyon wash. The latter part is a bit more difficult as you are climbing over rocks and gaining a bit more elevation. Bring plenty of water as the trail was hot with little shade in the afternoon, even in late March.

hiking
Thursday, April 05, 2018

We hiked around in the late afternoon and the light was great on these layered rock formations. If you like geology, you will lose track of time!! So cool!

hiking
Thursday, March 15, 2018

It's so beautiful here! There are not only golden canyon but also colourful rocks. I'm afraid the trail shown in this app is not correct. At a certain point you will see some stones on the trail directing the true way.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

beautiful hike. did the complete circuit(7.4 miles), took just over 3 hours. bring lots of water

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Pretty cool hike. We started at Zabriskie point and headed down to golden canyon and back. Took us about 3 hrs including a break. Bring plenty of water. You up and down the mountain and get pretty nice views. The trail is well marked. There are restrooms at both ends of the trail.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Favorite hike we did in the park

hiking
Sunday, January 07, 2018

cool trail, not very difficult

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Nice scrambling at the end to reach Red Cathedral. Otherwise its easy walk up.

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